Aurora schools, county offices, courts shuttered during historic ‘bomb cyclone’ blizzard

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AURORA | Offices for all three of the counties that touch Aurora, as well as their corresponding courts, will be closed Wednesday in anticipation of a blizzard forecasters say could be “historic,” according to announcements made on social media.

Classes at most area schools were cancelled yesterday in anticipation of the storm.

A vast, window-rattling late winter storm brought blizzards, high winds, rain and the threat of tornadoes to more than 25 states Wednesday, stretching from the northern Rocky Mountains to Texas and beyond.

“This is a very epic cyclone,” said Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Prediction Center. “We’re looking at something that will go down in the history books.”

It could develop into the worst storm of its type in 35 or 40 years, he said.

Blowing snow forced major highways to close in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, and about 1,000 flights were canceled at the Denver airport.

A wind gust of 92 mph  was recorded in the mountains northwest of Denver. Many schools and government offices closed for the day.3

County offices in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties will be closed all day on March 13. Courts in the 17th and 18th Judicial Districts, which cover Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties, will also be closed Wednesday.

The headquarters buildings for local sheriff’s offices will be closed as well.

Heavy rain is expected to turn into “heavy, wet, wind-driven snow” by late morning, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. A blizzard warning is in effect for the corridor along Interstate 25, and travel in the region is not recommended.

The culprit was a sudden and severe drop in ground-level air pressure in Colorado, the most pronounced dive since 1950, Carbin said. It was caused by a combination of the jet stream and normal conditions in the wind shadow of the Rockies.

Air rushed into the low-pressure area and then rose into the atmosphere.

“It’s like a vacuum cleaner, really,” Carbin said. And when that much air rushes higher into the atmosphere, it causes severe weather.

No alert regarding the closure of city offices had been posted to any of the City of Aurora’s social media accounts as of 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

However, a slew of fine art and dance classes, as well as city preschool classes, have been cancelled, according to city posts.

A Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and Ward III town hall meeting have also been postponed.

All school districts that touch Aurora — Aurora Public Schools and the Cherry Creek School District — have cancelled classes for today. Children in the Douglas County School District will also have a snow day.